Emma’s Dilemma: Identity Crisis


Emma Garcia, Online Editor-in-Chief

If you have heard anything about my life these past few weeks, you could assume this post is about one of two things: college applications, or the fact that Cody thought he lost his pants and definitely lost his ID. Both relate to identity crises, but the former is a topic I think is more representative of what I care about more (Cody can blog about his pants and ID if he wants). Hence, a better topic for my first blog post of the year. Yeah, I know I’m kind of late.

Let me just say, college applications are a double edged sword. On one end, they’re exciting. You’re planning your future! You have so many choices! Everything seems so great! You’re going to make so many friends!

On the other end, they’re terrifying. You have to plan your entire future! You have too many choices! Everything seems great but you don’t know if they’re actually great! What if you hate everyone around you? What if they hate you too? It’s not all just fun and games.

Not only that, you don’t hold all the power. Actually, all the power you might have had before is now gone. If you don’t watch Survivor, you won’t get the analogy I’m about to make. But if you do, you’ll find this analogy sort of genius.

The way Survivor works is that 18 or so strangers are dumped on a beach on some island in the middle of nowhere. It’s not always an island but it is always isolated and there is always a beach involved. These 18 strangers are split into two tribes and participate in physical and mental challenges, voting one of the eighteen people out of the game about every three days. Who gets voted out is entirely in the player’s hands.

But when it comes time to decide a winner, they have no power. A jury, made up of the last eight or so people that were voted out, now has the power and will vote for the winner. These are the people who the three finalists, voted out, and they have every reason to not want them to win. And there’s nothing the finalists can do about it.

Basically, I’m one of thousands and thousands of finalists who are waiting to see who “wins” a spot at the college of our choice. It’s like my entire academic life has been a game of Survivor and now I have to plead my case, to convince a group of people who have no reason to want me to succeed that they should choose me to go to their school.

The worst part is that if they do pick me, I don’t win a million dollars like the people on Survivor. Instead, I pay THEM a million dollars. It’s a cruel cruel world.

To plead my case to my “jury,” I get to fill out college applications. These applications range from the CSUs — who really just want my grades and test scores so they can plug them into a computer program — to schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton (my “if they really just throw applications into the air and pick random ones” schools). They want to know not only my whole life story, but my parents’ life stories as well. Naturally, this forced introspection has caused some anxiety and questioning of my very being. Nothing major.

I am faced with questions that only someone looking for disappointment should ask. Who am I? What can I contribute to the world? What is a quality about myself that I take pride in? What is my grade point average?

Don’t colleges know that teenagers have no clue what the hell they’re doing? That we just want to go to a good school and get a degree and get a job without being crushed by debt? Because really, I’m not applying to those Ivy League schools (plus Stanford) because I think I can get in. I’m applying because they give me free tuition if I get in, and Princeton even covers most of my housing. That’s what my life has become. But to get in, I must answer these important questions.

And since this post seems to just be me baring my soul to whomever actually decides to read this (hello college admissions person who decided to Google), I’ve decided to answer them here:

I am Emma Garcia, a 17-year-old high school senior who has ambiguous goals for my life. I’m not really sure what I can contribute to the world, I just hope it’s not our generation’s equivalent of the atomic bomb (like that would happen — I got a C in physics and remember nothing from chemistry). I have no exceptional qualities to speak of, other than sarcasm and possibly wit. And my grade point average is 3.4 (unweighted). So if you are a college admissions person, just know that I will be putting my weighted GPA on everything you will let me. I think that’s a fair thing for you to let me do, since I’m going to be in therapy (that I probably won’t have the money to afford) because of this college process for years.

If everything goes as planned, I will have all of my applications done by December 1. That way I will be able to actually enjoy the holidays (other than Thanksgiving, but when is Thanksgiving ever peaceful?) and concentrate on things like family, food, and getting a good night’s sleep.

Wish me luck, and good luck if you are also a senior who also doesn’t know how to analyze everything about yourself.